January 8, 2015

Peter Marshall on Preaching

I am currently re-reading the story of Peter Marshall, A Man Called Peter, written by Catherine Marshall.  I enjoy reading it anew every couple of years for additional insights into this great churchman and preacher.

Peter believed that the use of the sanctified imagination, the painting of word pictures, using the vehicle of a story, was Jesus' way of teaching. It will forever be, he believed, the most effective method.

Pictorial preaching is the most effective because it is easier to get at the average mind by a picture than by an idea.

Preaching on characters in the Bible or incidents in their lives demands pictorial preaching with imaginative treatment in a dramatic setting.  It is a piece of life ... a film from the world's big drama ... a newsreel from the Scriptures.  You must sketch your situation as if you were painting it. For your colors you have words....  Your sermon outline provides the lines of your picture. Your brushes are gestures and the modulation of your voice. Your shadows and highlights are your own expression and the tone of your voice ....  

The task of the preacher ... is "to see clearly and to tell what you see in a plain way."